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A big loss to Hays

Published on -6/10/2014, 9:52 AM

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A big loss to Hays

The Brownback ideology has taken down one more service to low-income families of Kansas, Planned Parenthood.

They are being forced to close the Hays health center in order to save clinics in Wichita because their federal family planning funding through the Title X grant program has been cut, by Kansas, because they believe Planned Parenthood provides abortions with Title X monies -- which is not true.

This did not have to happen, but Kansas intentionally left Planned Parenthood out of those receiving funding. Title X, which is the only federal grant program dedicated solely to family planning and reproductive health services for low-income and uninsured patients, has nothing to do with abortion. Cutting Title X funding could actually result in an increase in abortions.

In a study by Guttmacher Institute, family planning services at Title X-funded clinics helped prevent 973,000 unintended pregnancies in 2008, which would have caused more that 400,000 unintended births and more than 400,000 abortions. Without adequate birth control and family planning services these numbers easily could increase, and Planned Parenthood is a provider of these services.

More than 90 percent of Planned Parenthood services are preventative and primary care. More than 1 million youth and adults participate in Planned Parenthood educational programs every year. President Richard Nixon enacted Title X in 1970 to provide funding, free of charge, to patients at or below the poverty level. There is a sliding fee scale for low- to moderate-income patients. The crucial services provided are breast and pelvic exams, pap smears and other cancer screenings, HIV testing, testing and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy testing, counseling, and affordable birth control.

Again, Planned Parenthood long has been banned from using federal money for abortions, but rather they provide services to prevent them. In a report from the National Family and Reproductive Health Association, stated Title X funding loss hurts a highly effective program that serves more than 5 million men, women and children annually and has prevented 20 million unintended pregnancies and 9 million abortions during the past two decades. The report further states every $1 invested saves approximately $4 in Medicaid costs for pregnancy-related and newborn care alone.

Every citizen of Kansas should ask themselves if we could afford this risk.

Shelley Dunham,

Council Grove

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